After days of bouncing off the walls since I forked out £75 for it, the Samba De Amigo box set arrived this morning, and what a wonderful box set it is. The previous owner of the game had only played it a couple times, so everything was in next to perfect condition. The game itself is, as expected, a real blast and makes the DDR games and it's mat look rather old-hat (although the mat and Space Channel 5 is still a brilliant combination) but rather then just state the obvious with a review and screenshots, I'm going to give you a full run down of what exactly you get in the box.
First thing you notice is the beautiful artwork on the box itself. Unlike most of the Dreamcast boxes which are a minimalist (but still rather cool) blue with huge white text, this box has the characters plastered all over the front and really looks something up on your shelf. I certainly won't be stuffing this in the loft in a hurry.
Open the box up and all this stuff is found inside. All nicely bubble wrapped it was, and everything is pristine, which is nice.
The bright red maracas are the first thing you see upon opening the box. To my surprise they even have a rattle in them, which you can remove with a screwdriver if you wish, and replace in-game with SFX, of which there are loads to unlock. They both have a yellow button on them for menu hopping, but shaking is what these babies are all about.
Now this is the piece which makes the set cost an arm and a leg. This is the sensor device that sits in front of your feet and registers how high the maracas you are holding are. The maracas plug into the back of this, and the whole device plugs into the controller port.
The sensor has Velcro underneath it so it can attach itself to this rather funky mat. Unlike the DDR mat this isn't used for any of the controls, but as a guide of the standing range. It also makes it feel just that more like owning the arcade cabinet.
And here are all the pieces of the controller linked up. It looks a lot more complex than it is, and the wires don't get in the way like you would think they would.
Then of course there's the game itself. The PAL version of the game was, unlike the Japanese and American versions, not released separately from the controller, so you won't find this on it's own. The box art is more minimalist than the NTSC versions too, and for the small case it works better than trying to cram all the characters into such a small space plus, like the PAL Crazy Taxi art, the yellow goes well with the blue case.
Even the controller instruction manual is full of happiness and joy. Just look as this crazy little guy featured in it. His so happy his smile is bigger than his feet.
Ok, so the sombrero, modelled here by a Sonic doll isn't included in he package, but I've owned this sombrero for a while now and I got it back out of the loft for such an occasion. I originally purchased it for a few quid out of a party junk shop for an animation I made once, but since then it's become my official party hat. Along with Afros, I have a funnyobsession with Sombrero's. Plus with this I'm just one step closer to being the mirror of the dancing monkey on the screen. All I need now is more body hair and some daft clothes.
Now, there are many reasons why this is quite possibly the happiest video game ever invented, and if it was released on a current-gen console would be a Blue Skies winner, but here's a short list:
* Music that really makes you want to boogie. No dreary trance pap here.
* Downloadable music from Sonic, NiGHTS, Burning Rangers, Outrun, Fantasy Zone and After Burner (nab 'em off VMUTool)
* A dancing freaking monkey, who if you play well goes ape-shit bonkers with glee.
* More colours on the screen at any one time then looking through a rainbow.
* A Leopard duo with the names Chumba and Wumba.
* A Reel Big Fish cover of Take on Me.
* Sega trademark engrish up there with Marine Fishing's. SERECT A MUSIIIKK.
* Did I mention the dancing monkey?
* Unlike DDR, it's actually easy to get into.
* Unlike DDR, it's actually fun even if you can't dance for toffee.
* It's exercise that isn't laborious.
* DANCING MONKEY.
This game is in simple terms everything I love about gaming, and everything I love about Sega. They had better make a sequel for the Nintendo Wii, seeing as all you would need is to of the remotes, although even that wouldn't be quite as fun as shaking two blight red plastic rattles. If you have the money to splash out on this (thanks to some successful boot sales a little while back, I did), make sure you do. Put the purchase of this game on your list of things to do before you die. Unless you're a hermit who is too obese to stand up and doesn‘t have a happy cell in your body, you will enjoy every minute of this game.
One last thing: as I always like to do when I get a new piece of kit to use for my Dreamcast, I tested it out on a few other games it wasn't made for to see if I can find some little jewels of gaming. It's happened before. I found out at DCemu forums that Mr. Driller and REZ were supposed to work well for it (as well as Soul Calibur although I still don't have a new copy of that) so those were the first I tried.
This game does in fact pretty well with the Maracas. Shaking in the direction you want makes the little pink bloke on the screen drill in that direction, although you have to pretty much do the exact same thing with both maracas to do so, over wise he gets confused and drills in the wrong direction. Takes some getting used to.
MARACA TEST STATUS: Worth a go, I guess.
I don't own a proper copy of this just yet (you seen how much it goes for on Ebay?), but I used my pirate copy (it's a rare game, so shut it) and unfortunately this game didn't work with it too well at all. For starters you can't navigate through the menu's at all, and in-game even though you can move the cursor about fine, using the maracas to do so is just too slow, plus you can't hold a shake as such to shoot multiple enemies, so it's pretty pointless.
MARACA TEST STATUS: Pedestrian pace, not worth it.
Space Channel 5
Maybe I was expecting too much for this game to work well with the maracas as well, after the grand success of playing the game with a DDR mat, but I had a go anyway. You could shoot fine, but the directions don't work at all.
MARACA TEST STATUS: Ulala had fallen to sleep at the job.
DDR 2nd Mix
Seeing as DDR is just up-down-left-right movement, I had a go at this, seeing as I would have a better chance at the game using my arms then my feet. You can't navigate the menu's with it, and while the down and right can be pulled off perfectly enough, the up and left just don't register at all. Bah, almost had it.
MARACA TEST STATUS: Terrance is missing two legs.
So saly not much success there, although I might try more tomorrow. I'll leave you with this link of a homebrew maraca project I found by accident while searching for Samba De Amigo images the other day: Viva La Samba.